Out on a limb…
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. In Jericho. A place abounding in scented balsams. An oasis city catering to the rich and powerful.
A honey-pot of taxation for the Roman government. Thick with tax collectors, the despised ones, making their own pockets jingle after rendering Caesar’s due.
Spring blossoms display their full regalia this day to welcome a guest to town. Rumor has it he’s been performing miracles.
People begin to gather, swelling into the streets. Jockeying for a position to see this guest. Some gather along rooftops; some hang out of windows like washing hung to dry.
There’s one man named Zacchaeus, of Hebrew origin meaning pure, innocent. It was in his name but not yet in his heart. For he is a chief tax collector.
But he is too short to see over the crowd. Short in the eyes of others but standing tall in his own eyes, as he stands on his power and wealth from collecting taxes, though a bought – or stolen – stature.
Wanting a glimpse of this man called Jesus, said to be a friend of tax collectors, he decides to jockey the nearest sycamore tree before he’s crushed, heeled by the feet of the tall.
Zach climbs out on a sturdy branch, pushing aside a leaf-laden limb for a better view. He feels ten feet tall, looking down on all those who’ve looked down on him all his life.
From his vantage point in the tree, he hears the waves of acclamation as Jesus and His troupe draw closer in Zach’s direction.
Once near the tree, Jesus suddenly stops. He waves aside the sea of spectators to get closer to the sycamore. He looks up through the cluster of leaves, right into Zach’s eyes.
What floods Zacchaeus’ mind? Startled and embarrassed, he looks down through the leaves.
”Zacchaeus,” Jesus calls.
Zach feels his breath leave his lungs and the darkness begin to leave his soul. He thumps his chest with his fist to remind himself to breathe. Breathe, Zachy-boy. Breathe!
“Zacchaeus. Quickly. Come down,” commands Jesus. (Luke 19:5a NLT)
In an instant, Zacchaeus’ life flashes through his mind. He remembers his little black book, his financial journal, filled with entries of money extorted. He remembers how money filled his pockets, yet his life was bankrupt.
Jesus knows Zach’s bottom line, how his ledger bulges with ill-gotten gain. He knows every item, every stolen coin.
But He isn’t looking into Zacchaeus’ accounts this day. He’s searching his heart for each footprint of those who have stepped on Zacchaeus and those Zach has stepped on.
“Zacchaeus, I must stay at your house today,” said Jesus.
Zach shinnies down the tree and greets Jesus, joyfully offering the hospitality of his home to Him.
But gasps of contempt from the crowd fill the air, grumbling that Jesus would dare be a guest in this sinner’s house, to eat with him.
Feeling compelled, called, just as Jesus called the disciples and they left everything to follow Him, Zach gushes forth with a confession, “Lord, I will give to the poor half of my goods and those I’ve overcharged. I’ll restore fourfold.”
Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:9-10 NKJV)
And Zach’s heart grew three sizes that day.
Here are the questions we need to ask ourselves:
*Where am I short with stunted growth?
*What do I push out of the way to see Jesus?
*How high will I climb out of my circumstances to catch a glimpse of Jesus?
Jesus is coming your way to visit. Will you see Him? Will you answer His call?
May your household be blessed with salvation…Lynn